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Five things we learnt from Energy Spectrum | 665

Matt High Matt High Editor
13th May 2019

Energy UK’s Future of Energy report, published on 24 April, lays solid foundations for a industry view on the pace, cost and direction of decarbonisation across the UK economy that fits well with the recent advice on moving to a net zero emissions target. In this week’s Energy Perspective, we give out thoughts on the agenda that it sets out finding much to commend. While broad in its scope, there are areas that we would quibble with such as more emphasis on fairness and equity issues in the retail market. We also suggest that extending its analysis into how to prioritise, resource and fund the main options would be a very useful next step for Energy UK and its members.

A 2 May consultation from BEIS on the future of the UK government’s and Devolved Administrations’ approach to carbon pricing once the UK leaves the EU sets out sensible recommendations on future options. However, as we find in our Policy section, it remains committed to its preferred option of aligning any scheme with the EU Emissions Trading (ETS) Scheme. We consider that, as the UK has been a major buyer of EU ETS permits, fungibility with a larger market should help with liquidity and stability.

Ofgem’s much-anticipated review of the microbusiness supply market comes at a time when the sector is seeing rapidly increasing competition. We look more closely at the review in our Regulation section, finding that the regulator will need a robust market segmentation that properly factors in the different types of supplier, consumer and intermediary on which to construct its assessment.

In our Industry Structure section, we analyse the latest electricity switching figures, published by Energy UK on 18 April, which show that March switching increased by 29% compared the same month in 2018 (according to Energy UK). Our own analysis highlights that since September 2018 when Ofgem launched its consultation on the default tariff cap, the electricity switching has increased as the gap between the average large supplier cheapest fixed tariff and the average large supplier SVT has increased. As the differential significantly increased from the end of January 2019, so too has the total number of electricity switches. We expect switching levels to fall with a decrease of the cap level expected in winter to reflect the falling wholesale price over recent months.

We have two Nutwood articles this week, both written in house and both covering a 2 May conference held by the Regulatory and Policy Institute. In the first, Cornwall Insight Analyst Jacob Briggs outlines how speakers and attendees addressed questions of establishing legitimate spaces for regulators to act, the role of regulators, and how to identify and deliver positive outcomes within and across generations. In the second, Cornwall Insight founder Nigel Cornwall synthesises his presentation at the event around how the regulatory framework in energy had already been adapted over several years to cover social and environmental guidance (SEG), but remains incomplete and in need of modernisation.